Leading professional services firm, PwC Nigeria, has announced the eighth edition of the annual Chess4change initiative at a recent press conference in Lagos.
Using chess, this developmental programme targeted at public schools in Lagos has continued to impact positively on the participating secondary schools in Lagos state.
Over the years, the successes recorded include improving students’ leadership skills and grades in subjects like Mathematics, English Language, Trade and Civic Studies.
The organisers attribute these achievements of the programme to the collaboration and support from the Lagos State Government through the Ministry of Education, the Lagos Sports Commission, and the Lagos State Chess Association. PwC and Media Vision Limited, a sports marketing company, collaborate to organise the Chess4change initiative.
Pedro Omontuemhen, Country Operations Partner, PwC Nigeria, in welcoming various stakeholders to the press conference, reiterated the firm’s commitment to continue to use chess to inspire and positively change the lives of the secondary school students.
He said, “Chess4change is helping us to make a sustained impact in society, focusing on youth education. For eight years, it has allowed the students to compete, have fun, and reap the intellectual and critical thinking benefits from playing chess.”
He also reiterated why the firm has focused this initiative on public schools so that children from parents in the lower economic classes can participate and benefit from this elite sport.
Students who participate in the programme continue to improve their academic performance yearly. Media Vision’s year-on-year review revealed:
- 71% increase in grades in Mathematics, 78% in Trade, and 68% in Civic Studies,
- 71% increase in female students holding leadership positions and
- 65% rise in male students holding leadership positions.
Ilesanmi Temitayo, representing the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Education Lagos State, encouraged the students to look for inspiration in the trail-blazing examples of young chess players like them, including Ferdinand Maumo, a ten-year-old cerebral palsy; Tanitoluwa Emmanuel Adewumi, a twelve-year-old FIDE Master; and Adeoye Fawaz, an eighteen-year-old champion from Chess in Slums.
The Vice President of Nigeria Chess Federation, Adeyinka Adewole, commended the organisers of Chess4change, noting that while Nigeria is yet to produce a Grandmaster, the highest title in chess, we have International Masters one of which is Isaac Okeke a product of Chess4Change and, the likes of Jessica Pelomoh, a one-time the highest-ranked female chess player in Nigeria.
He challenges the students to participate actively as a Grand master could emerge from among them.
The students, instructors and schools were keen for this year’s competition, looking to take the glory and rewards for winning the championship.
Michael Iheanacho of Ireti Grammar School, last year’s best player and defending champions, showed his appreciation to PwC for the initiative.
He said winning Chess4change grand slam last year made him popular, motivating others to take up chess.
Creating this avenue for the secondary school students to channel their youthful energy in productive activities is in line with PwC’s purpose of building trust and solving important problems in society.